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What does the DSS do to address elder abuse incidents?

On Behalf of | Nov 30, 2023 | ELDER LAW - Elder Law

Elder abuse can significantly harm individuals and their families. In Connecticut, government agencies take this issue very seriously, addressing incidents proactively through the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Protective Services for the Elderly (PSE) program.

It allows authorities to properly receive and investigate reports of elder abuse, including exploitation, neglect and abandonment cases. PSE officers are also responsible for conducting random and regular checks for older adults, helping them determine if they need help or protection. Despite working in the best interest of elders, the PSE may only carry out activities and actions within legal boundaries. Their duties must adhere to the elder’s wishes and preferences if they can decide independently.

The PSE could perform the following obligations based on the circumstances:

  • Make assessments, recommendations, arrangements and referrals upon request of an elder
  • File a petition for an involuntary conservator for an elder if necessary
  • Cover costs temporarily for emergency services needed by an elder
  • Legally collect medical and financial documents relevant to an abuse report or investigation
  • Involve law enforcement in an elder abuse case
  • Seek orders from the court to perform assessments or private interviews with the elder

These options might not resolve the abuse incident immediately, but they can help keep elders safe when looking into reports and allegations.

What restrictions exist for the PSE?

The PSE has varying functions, but there are limitations based on the situation. Typically, the officers may only act with consent from the elder or a legal representative. Additionally, they have no control over who gets to visit elders at their residence, whether they live in private homes or a nursing facility.

Some scenarios can have complications, making it difficult to determine what the PSE can or cannot do. In any case, it can be beneficial to seek legal counsel if there are issues involving an elder. Receiving accurate information can help determine the most appropriate option that prioritizes the involved elder’s welfare.